Effort seeks to help schools prevent sex violence

“There’s a lot of schools out there that are very well meaning and want to do the right thing, but these situations are so complex that having more concrete guidelines … will be incredibly useful,” Maatz said.

Officials say the University of New Hampshire was chosen for the announcement because of its best practices in efforts to educate, prevent and respond to sexual assaults, including 24-hour victim assistance.

It also started a program–now used at other universities–called Bringing in the Bystander, which teaches passers-by to intervene safely and effectively to stop a sexual assault.

“UNH has long been regarded as a leader in addressing violence against women on campus,” spokeswoman Erika Mantz said, noting the school began funding one of the country’s first on-campus crisis centers for rape and sexual harassment in 1988.

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Last fall, three UNH faculty members briefed the White House on their research on violence against women, and then attended a celebration with Biden of the 16th anniversary of the federal Violence Against Women Act. Biden wrote the legislation as a senator in 1994.

Monday’s planned announcement in Durham comes on the heels of allegations of a sexually hostile environment at Yale University, but officials say the timing is coincidental.

The Office of Civil Rights announced Friday that would investigate the Ivy League school after receiving a 26-page complaint from students accusing the university of failing to adequately respond to sexual harassment concerns.

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